30 April 2010
Wedding at the Trust Home
Weddings are always special occasions in the lives of the participants and their families. But this Tibetan/Nepali wedding with American pastor officiating and gospel message presented was unique to everyone in attendance. Among the 500-550 people were a group of Tibetan Buddhists who may never have heard the gospel before-- and may never again. The bride is a Tibetan, but she is not a Buddhist. She is one of the very few Tibetan Christ followers in the world. Her new Nepali husband is also a committed Christian believer, but a number of friends and relatives who attended are Hindu. And so the American pastor had a challenging task in the presentation of the gospel to these diverse groups and to make the wedding special for the couple as well. He did an outstanding job, with mannerisms that fit the Asian cultures before him perfectly. In a gracious voice, as if sitting in a living room, he made a clear picture with words to show the gospel for people with no Christian foundation or experience. There was no invitation or request for a response by lifting hands. This audience would not have understood any of that and even I (with my traditional church background)cringe at the thought of asking a newly decided believer to be public immediately. The goal was to feed just a small bite of food, to draw the heart, to create an atmosphere where another step could be taken. The wedding was a mixture of cultures and languages. Both of the young man's parents walked with him to the platform. I did not know until a few minutes before the fact, that I would be escorting the bride, along with Dolma and the girl's birth mother. Hymns were sung in Nepali and Tibetan. Tibetan dances were performed. Testimonies were spoken. Rings were exchanged. An important part of a wedding in Asia is the signing of the wedding certificate. The parents and pastors involved all signed. Dolma and Arjun signed. I was also included and then the certificate presented to the couple as a proof (I suppose) of their marriage with the blessing of all these documented. My special memory of the ceremony came after Arjun signed the certificate. He put his hand on the girl's head and leaned over to whisper something to her. It made her cry and Arjun was also crying as he left the platform- a tender moment between a daughter and the father who raised her.